Drowned Wednesday by Garth Nix

Read: July 23 - July 24
Format: Audiobook 7 CDs equivalent 321 pages
Source: Public Library
Subject: Alternate world
Category: The Kids have it - Young adult and children's books
Challenges: 11 in 11, 75 Book, TIOLI, AUDIO, SYLL
Stars: ★★★½

This the 3rd installment of the Kings to the Kingdom series. Arthur has returned to his normal existence, in the hospital with a broken leg awakening Wednesday at noon, when he receives an invitation from Lady Wednesday to have lunch. Not given an opportunity to refuse, Arthur and his friend, Leaf, are swept away on a tidal wave to the Border Sea where they are separated, Leaf to imprisonment on the pirate ship of Feverfew, the enemy of Lady Wednesday, and he set adrift on a treasure buoy.

After being rescued, Arthur meets with Lady Wednesday, who has been transformed into a huge white whale with an insatiable appetite due to some curse put upon her by the morrow days. She has no idea where her portion of the will is, so Arthur has numerous tasks to perform - locate the third portion of the will, rescue Leaf, and resolve the curse and with these resolutions Lady Wednesday will hand over her key.

The characters in this installment were entertaining, the predicaments amusing - reminiscent of Jonah and the whale, and overall great for Arthur's development as our hero. The fun of Pirates and a scavanger hunt all rolled into one.


A Summer in Sonoma by Robyn Carr

Read: July 6 - July 24
Format: Paperback 406 pages
Source: My Shelves
Subject: friendship, bankruptcy, cancer, non-communication,marriage
Category: Love and Marriage: a lifetime commitment
Genre: Romance
Challenges: 11 in 11, 75 Book, TIOLI, BOYS
Stars: ★★★★

Have you ever picked up a book knowing exactly what you expect from it and get that and so much more? For me, I knew when I picked up this book, that I was reading a romance, so I expected love and marriage and I got that. But what I also got was a kick in the teeth because of what it showed me about myself and others.

This is the story of 4 girls who grew up together and how through thick and thin they stick together. Their lives are all different but when trouble strikes they bond together and carry on.
Cassie, an ER nurse, is almost raped but is rescued by a big burly biker. A friendship develops and the two spend the summer visiting all over the Sonoma Valley on Walt's Harley.
Julie, a stay at home mother of 3, is married to Billy, a firefighter, and even though their love and marriage are strong, their financial situation is not, fighting constantly to make ends meet.
Marty, a hairdresser, is married to Joe, also a firefighter, and together with their son Jason, live in nice house and have all the toys that most men have - boat, big screen TV, etc.
Beth is a OB/GYN Doctor who shuts herself off from men because her previous fiancé left her after she had a battle with breast cancer in her mid-twenties.
Each of the character's stories could have been a book on their own but the tales are interwoven so that the comparisons of their lives is front and center.

SPOILER - I don't like to put spoilers in my reviews but in this instance, it wouldn't be fair not to. The reason why this book kicked me in the teeth is that it showed the characters' flaws and made this reader, at least, stop and think. Cassie doesn't want to get romantically involved with Walt because he's not what she envisioned the man in her life should look like. Billy is forever optimistic and gets a rude awakening when he realizes that the world doesn't react to a positive attitude. Marty and Joe hear but don't listen. Beth feels that she can't burden her friends with her problems but is there to help with theirs.

I can't believe how much this book made me stop and think about the people in the world around me. Our world/society seems so intent on physical appearance - that the people that are beautiful inside seem to be lost and that means we are missing out on so much. A possible attitude can be helpful but it is important to be realistic as well. Our relationships could be infinitely better if we learned to listen better - shouldn't this be a class in school? Lastly, I now understand an old saying I heard "A trouble shared is but half a trouble, a joy that's shared is a joy made double." If we are willing to help our friends and family through hard times, why should we expect them to be any different in helping us if we have hard times. This really was a very thought provoking book. Very well-written.


Real Murders : Aurora Teagarden Mysteries byCharlaine Harris

July 15 - July 19
Format: Paperback 290 pages
Source: Barnes & Noble
Subject: Copycat killers
Category: Something Old - read those TBRs
Challenges: 11 in 11, 75 Book, TIOLI, BOYS
Stars: ★★★½

Just about everyone has seen on television those shows where they recreate events such as the Jack the Ripper murders trying to decide who was involved and what really happened. The producers take all kinds of sensational murders and try to show the viewers exactly how they believe the events took place. Well, in this book, Aurora Teagarden, the assistant librarian of Laurenceton, Georgia, and a small group take detailed looks at well-known murders. As the book opens, Aurora (ROE) finds one of their members dead but the staging of the body appears exactly the same as a murder that they are about to discuss.

The police are not particularly interested in the theory of someone copying the ancient murder, but when 3 other people are killed with connections/details replicating other renowned murders, the town starts to get a bit antsy and want the killer caught. Through the book Roe is central because she either finds the body, finds the weapon, or arrives at the scene immediately after the event, not forgetting that they all seem to take place in her neighborhood.

I was really taken with this book. The characters, quirky names aside, definitely could be better developed but since this is the first in the series, there is time for the that. What seem to me the most realistic was that Roe is not the most "interesting" person on earth. She doesn't have much of a social life so when two men start showing interest, she doesn't know what to do. This little bit of romance helped to cool the dra.ma of the murders as they were happening. Definitely look for the next.


Mailbox Monday

Mailbox Monday was originally hosted by Marcia at The Printed Page, but is now a traveling meme and for the month of July Mailbox Monday will be hosted by A Sea of Books! Go over and visit her to see what she got in her mailbox.

My mailbox was very busy but some were a bit atypical for readers. I purchased 3 books to help my Bridge game. They were:

Leading Questions in Bridge - I always seem to have the opening lead so I decided I better figure out what to do.
The Setting Trick: Practical Problems in Bridge Defense
Bridge Cardplay

These are about the only kind of books my husband will read so once I'm done, I'll pass them on to him.

I also got two romances from my online book club.

They were:
The Secret Mistress by Mary Balogh
The newest from one of my favorite writers.

Shameless by Karen Robards
A new author for me.

What was in your mailbox this week?


Grim Tuesday by Garth Nix

Read: July 14 - July 17
Format: Audiobook 6 CDs equivalent 321 pages
Source: Public Library
Subject: Alternate world
Category: The Kids have it - Young adult and children's books
Challenges: 11 in 11, 75 Book, TIOLI, AUDIO, SYLL
Stars: ★★★

Arthor Penhalingon, our hero from the first book in this series, and the keeper of the key for the Lower House is drawn into a battle with Grim Tuesday to protect hs home and his family. Arthur needs to leave the Secondary Realm of Earth and travel to the Far reaches and defeat Grim Tuesday in a battle against greed and avarice. Again good (Arthur) must overcome evil (Grim) while helping the less fortunate.

Again a fun read for the youth, with introduction of several new characters - along with Suzy Turquoise Blue from the first book, Japeth the walking Thesaurus, Captain Shelvocke the sea-faring brother of the Pied Piper. Arthur sets sail with Captain Shelvocke to find the second fragment of the Will. Expecting the same type of character as the original will in Mister Monday, the reader is pleasantly surprised by this portion. I'm looking forward to the next book.


Heresy by S.J. Parris

Read: July 5 - July 15
Format: Hardback 435 pages
Source: Public Library
Subject: religious intolerance in the Middle Ages
Challenges: 11 in 11, 75 Book, TIOLI, SYLL
Category: Something Borrowed - from the library
Genre: Historical Fiction
Stars: ★★★★

The central character of our story is Giordano Bruno, an excommunicated Italian monk. Bruno fled the Inquisition because as a philosopher and scientist he has the same leanings as Copernicus - that the Earth revolves around the sun.

Bruno has come to England, Oxford in particular in search of a book which should clarify some of his philosophy but while there he is recruited into the service of the Queen Elizabeth looking for a band of Catholics seeking her demise. As Bruno searches deeper and deeper for the book related to his research, he is caught deeper and deeper in the web surrounding the Catholics and the murders that have occurred.

The mystery has many twists and some unexpected turns but the end is dramatically satisfying.


The Betrayal of the Blood Lily by Lauren Willig

Read: June 30 - July 8
Format: Audiobook 12 CDs equivalent 512 pages
Source: Public Library
Subject: spy network, India
Category: The good old days - historical fiction
Challenges: 11 in 11, 75 Book, TIOLI, AUDIO, SYLL
Stars: ★★★

The Pink Carnation series continues in this tale of Penelope Stains who appear in the previous adventure and we found that she was married hastily to protect her reputation. Lady Penelope lacks the same moral high ground that the other featured ladies have shone, instead she was sarcastic, opinionated, striving to be her own person. In this installment, Penelope and her new husband Freddy are off to India and an obscure province to represent the British government. Penelope, never comfortable in the social scene in London, exercises her new "independence" from the social swirl of London. Freddy becomes more irresponsible showing his laziness and arrogance while Penelope starts to shine. Their escort to the remote province is Captain Alex Reid and the relationship that develops eventually leads to a joyful conclusion.

This is probably my least favorite of the series. First I never heard anything about a Blood Lily, so where did the title come from. Penelope wasn't someone that I think I could respect even for her efforts, and lastly, I didn't get the connection with the Napoleonic war spy network at all. Hope the next one gets back on track.


The Body in the Transept by Jeanne M. Dams

Read: July 8 - July 10
Format: Hardback 202 pages
Source: Public Library
Subject: widowhood, acceptance, murder
Category: Something Borrowed - from the library
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Challenges: 11 in 11, 75 Book, TIOLI, SYLL
Stars: ★★★½

Dorothy Martin, after losing her husband Frank unexpectedly, decides to fulfill their retirement plans and moves to Sherebury, England, a small university town that they had visited together over the years. After her first Christmas Eve service in her new hometown, Dorothy discovers the body of the Cathedral's Canon and proceeds to get involved with the investigation in more ways than one.

Dorothy was a whimsical character who I can foresee getting involved more than maybe she should in the future. This first book does whet the reader's appetite for more.


Sew Deadly by Elizabeth Lynn Casey

Read: July 1 - July 4
Format: Paperback 275 pages
Source: Barnes & Noble 2009
Subject: stranger in a small town, acceptance
Challenges: 11 in 11, 75 Book, TIOLI, BOYS
Category: Something Old - read those TBRs
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Stars: ★★★★

When Tori moves away from her Chicago home and accepts the job as head librarian in Sweet Briar, SC, she doesn't expect to be the town pariah, but she soon finds out that not only are the people against her because she ousted the old librarian but she doesn't understand the Southern ways of behavior. Fortunately she is taken under the wing of a gentile Southern lady and welcomed (though not entirely) by the Sweet Briar Ladies Sewing Circle. She makes some friends and its a good thing because when she discovers the body of the town beauty in the library dumpster, she becomes suspect #1 and since no one else is interested in finding the murderer, she has to do it herself.

I loved this book. It was funny and light and talked about books and sewing. The characters were diverse and entertaining. The clues were well-spaced and well-hidden for the murder but right out there for you to play along as to the town meanie's identity. Can't wait for the next one - I may have to bump a few other books out of the way!


Heat Wave by Nancy Thayer

Read: June 29 - July 1
Format: Uncorrected Proof 288 pages
Source: LibraryThing ER program for review
Subject: friendship, financial independence, love
Category: Love and Marriage: a lifetime commitment
Genre: Fiction Challenges: 11 in 11, 75 Book, TIOLI, BOYS
Stars: ★★★½

When Gus dies of a heart attack from a congenital heart defect, Carley, a mother of two young girls, must find her own path to care for her home and family. Gus's parents want to take in the girls, but Carley is determined to make it on her own. The decisions that she makes are realistic at the same time as they are heart-wrenching but she manages to move forward with her life and bring joy and love to those around her.

I wasn't exactly sure that I liked this book as I started it, but I got suckered in actually talking to the character as I read. As it went along, I was hooked and was thrilled with most of the ending. ***SPOILER*** I didn't like the way Vanessa's situation ended, that was the only down part for me.